Deploying a network management system takes a great deal of expertise and time. There's physical installation, power supplies, network connections, and then the even more difficult phases of configuration and databasing. It can be a daunting task, especially for network operations managers who find their everyday jobs busy enough.
If you want a perfect-fit network monitoring system, which can be deployed in a hassle-free way, you should choose your telecom engineering services provider very carefully.
When you invest on a remote monitoring product, such as an RTU or a master station, you are also investing your time and money on this company services.
Not every organization will be able to give you efficient remote monitoring services, though. But, armed with the right information you can separate the companies who do from who don't.
These services include:
Custom hardware or software engineering
Having access to competent engineering services is almost as important as the remote monitoring device itself. How much value can you get out of an equipment if you don't know how to integrate it into your present system or even how use it? Also, what happens if you can't count on your monitoring company to be able to provide reliable services or any service at all?
Telecom engineering services, if efficient and reliable, allow you to get the most value out of your budget.
When you decide make business with a telecom engineer company - as with any other professional service - you'll be paying to use their time and expertise, which most of the times is not that cheap. So, you should be able to get the most value out of their telecom engineering services.
But how do you know which telecom engineering management company is the right one for you? Or which one is really as efficient as they say they are?
Here's what to look for when searching for your telecom software engineering company:
The best remote monitoring manufacturers will help you make an informed decision. They should provide some free pre-sales engineering to show how their portion of the solution fits into your overall project.
An efficient telecom engineering services provider will first determine your real needs, both for the present and the future. Some of the questions you should expect to answer are:
What are you currently working with, and why isn't it working for you?
What are your current solutions shortcomings and pitfalls?
An extensive site survey is important so your provider can understand your network - what equipment do you monitor, what alarm equipment do you currently have, what protocols and interfaces do you use. The most effective method of protecting your network reliability is to take the time and effort to understand the needs of your alarm monitoring system.
However, they should also look at where you want to be in the future, five or even ten years down the road. Their goal must be to find out what a perfect long-term system for you would look like. Avoid companies that will try to give you something you'll have to re-do two years from now.
The next step that efficient telecom engineering providers will take is to design an alarm monitoring application that will serve as a bridge between your current state and future objective. The goal here must be to create a perfect-fit solution.
A perfect-fit solution is different for everybody's application. It might mean visibility of network systems you haven't been able to monitor before. It might mean consolidating visibility of your whole network to one console. The key is creating a solution that's simpler for you to manage, from your operational standpoint.
From a design aspect, perfect fit means matching existing products against your requirements. This means that a lot of times an off-the-shelf solution will meet your needs. However, if it doesn't, your monitoring services provider should be able to modify their hardware and software so it fits your needs exactly.
There are several reasons why you might need an alarm monitoring solution that is custom-engineered specifically for your network. Some of them are:
You need a new master that supports your orphaned legacy remotes.
You need a mediation solution for incompatible protocols or communication interfaces.
You need a single-unit solution that includes all the capabilities and features you choose.
So, if your network has unique needs your telecom engineering services provider should be able to create a custom design system just for you.
The third point to keep in mind is that, even though this telecom engineering services provider can custom your monitoring solution, it doesn't mean that they're reliable.
Having experience in terms of customization is very important, you don't want to leave your important network on the hands of a company that doesn't have the engineering resources or the past experience to develop that perfect fit solution. So, make sure to avoid being the guinea pig.
At one point or another, we've all received a two-page fax quote for the purchase we are considering. That might be fine for a reorder of copier toner, but what about a network build-out service that could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars? Do you really want to select a company that takes very little time in preparing what they perceive you will need in your network?
Make sure your prospective network monitoring services provider is willing to create an application drawing that clearly communicates what you are trying to accomplish with your alarm monitoring.
Who's really making the gear you buy? Is your telecom engineering services provider merely a design house that outsources the actual manufacture? If so, how can this company guarantee the quality of their engineering customizations?
An engineering services provider that also has manufacturing facilities is much better equipped to create a perfect-fit solution for your monitoring needs.
Another aspect that you must look for in a telecom engineering services company is the quality of the services that they provide.
Remote monitoring and control software should be designed around a proven model with a time-tested design. A field-proven design is the ultimate proof of quality because it means that your system is reliable.
Remember that poor software design choices can result in any number of challenges in deploying a quality remote monitoring and control system. So, make sure your engineering company has broad knowledge of different types of equipment used throughout the industry, and deep experience of integrating different equipment in the network.
As with any business-to-business professional service, you should check carefully for your telecom engineering services provider's reputation.
Ask your prospective services provider how long the company has been in business, how many clients they serve, and how much they have grown.
Also, always check for testimonials, and ask for references from their clients. Reputation, whether good or bad, tells volumes about a company. Their other clients face the same problems and have to make the same decisions you do. A recommendation from a disinterested third party means more than any amount of advertising.
In order to help you trim down your list of possible monitoring engineering companies, here's a list of important questions that you can use.
Have you done this before? Who and where?
Do you have references or testimonials or I am your first customer?
Can you port my database from my existing master or will I have to manually re-enter the data?
Will you support me during the transition or am I on my own once you are paid?
If surprises crop up - do you have the ability to reengineer the solution to make sure I am up and running?
Do you offer installation and training or does my staff have to figure it out from the manual (if they even read it)?
Do you have the ability to custom engineer a perfect-fit solution or is your sales staff just a bunch of order takers?
After you design the perfect system- do you have materials and tools that I need to successfully present this to upper management?
As my network grows, - is there a clear upgrade process for my equipment?
Are you able to customize my master to support my "special" needs - or do I have to hire a full-time programmer?
If I have a problem at 4AM, can I get emergency tech support?
When I have an issue, will I get an automated call system or will I get a real voice?
Are you vertically integrated supplier - or are you part of five-team consortium?
Will you fly someone out here, do a site survey to review my alarms, transport, and general needs, help me design a perfect-fit solution, field trial it with me, and support me after installation?
Does your solution fit with my manpower and resource availability?
At DPS we think that we should do more than just help you when problems arise. We get out of our way to give you the best services possible at each and every stage of your network monitoring: system design, implementation, and day-to-day use.
We're often told by our clients that we do offer the best services in the industry. Here's what that means:
Turn-up and installation assistance
This is absolutely the quickest and easiest way to get your network monitoring system up and running. Our on-site turn-up assistance team will help install and configure your system and train your staff to use it.
Defining your database is the most complicated aspect of configuring your alarm monitoring system. However, you don't have to worry about it when we can do it for you. This service is especially helpful if you're upgrading to our equipment from legacy gear - we can convert your existing database from your legacy master.
Our factory training is the most thorough way to learn everything you need to know about your network monitoring system. This is a practical, hands-on course where you'll learn from the same engineers that who designed and built your system.
Annual maintenance agreements
Your monitoring system is a safeguard for your network - it makes sense to make sure that safeguard is always there. Our maintenance agreements will keep your monitoring system running at its best, worry-free.
And, of course, we also provide complete technical support. Whenever you need help, we are never more than a phone call or an email away. We have online live chat support as well.
When you need a new system, we don't leave you guessing about what products you need. Our application engineers design an alarm monitoring configuration specifically for your application, and prepare a customized report detailing every aspect of the proposed system.
Free lifetime firmware updates
You can download firmware upgrades from our website and install those updates over LAN from your desk.
The bottom line here is that we will never leave you with a monitoring problem unsolved. All of our services come with a full commitment to supplying you with the best network monitoring possible.
So, if you want to know more about our services, products, or company just gives us a call or send us an email - we'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.
Morgana Siggins is a marketing writer, content creator, and documentation specialist at DPS Telecom. She has created over 200 blog articles and videos sharing her years of experience in the remote monitoring industry.
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